PRESS STATEMENT ON ETHIOPIA/ERITREA BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

7 January 2003
AFR/539-SC/7625

PRESS STATEMENT ON ETHIOPIA/ERITREA BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

07/01/2003
Press ReleaseAFR/539 SC/7625

PRESS STATEMENT ON ETHIOPIA/ERITREA BY SECURITY COUNCIL PRESIDENT

Following is the press statement on Ethiopia/Eritrea made today by Security Council President Jean-Marc de La Sablière (France):

Members of the Security Council heard a briefing from Hedi Annabi, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Peacekeeping Operations, on the situation in Ethiopia and Eritrea during informal consultations on 7 January.  Mr. Annabi introduced the progress report of the Secretary-General of 20 December 2002 (S/2002/1393) and updated on developments since its publication.

Members of the Security Council welcomed the progress that had been made since the Secretary-General’s last report of 30 August 2002 (S/2002/977).  They urged both Ethiopia and Eritrea to continue to extend to the United Nations Mission in Ethiopia and Eritrea (UNMEE) and the Boundary Commission their full cooperation in order to ensure the smooth demarcation of the border.  In this regard, members of the Council welcomed the seventh report of the Eritrea-Ethiopia Boundary Commission, in particular the schedule for demarcation.  Members of the Council further urged the two sides to engage in discussions with the Special Representative of the Secretary-General, Legwaila Joseph Legwaila, to address any issues that might arise during the demarcation process in order to reach agreement on their resolution.

Members of the Security Council welcomed the release by Ethiopia of all remaining Eritrean prisoners of war on 29 November 2002 under the auspices of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), as Eritrea did for the Ethiopian prisoners.  They called on both parties to resolve all other outstanding issues, including the establishment of a direct high-altitude air corridor between the two capitals.

Members of the Security Council expressed concern about the likely shortfall in the Trust Fund for the Delimitation and Demarcation of the Border once demarcation begins.  They called on the international community to contribute urgently to the Trust Fund in order to facilitate the conclusion of the demarcation process in accordance with the Boundary Commission’s schedule.

Members of the Council expressed further concern about the looming drought in Ethiopia and Eritrea and the implications this could have for the peace process.  Members of the Council supported the appeal by the Secretary-General to Member States to provide prompt and generous support for humanitarian operations in Ethiopia and Eritrea through the consolidated appeals process and other mechanisms.

Members of the Council expressed their strong support for Mr. Legwaila, the military and civilian personnel of UNMEE and the Boundary Commission for their work in support of the peace progress.  They welcomed the new Force Commander for UNMEE, Major General Robert Gordon, and expressed appreciation to Major General Patrick Cammaert, who served as Force Commander for the last two years.

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For information media. Not an official record.